Christian-oriented youth center in works |

Christian-oriented youth center in works

Connie Steiert
Vail, CO Colorado
Kathy Heicher/Enterprise PPastor Winsor Stough hopes to turn the old rec distrcit building into a youth center this fall.

EAGLE ” Teens often complain that there is little to do in this valley. Granted, the valley abounds in sports activities; but opportunities for simple socializing remain slim for downvalley teens.

What if there was a place they could call their own, with the cozy, upbeat atmosphere of a local coffee house, but with games, entertainment, and even the chance to cut a CD?

Pastor Winsor Stough and the Eagle Valley Community Outreach Center are working to create just such a place in downtown Eagle. The Christian-oriented “Axcess Youth Center” is now in the permit process with the town.

Axcess will organize Christian outreach for students two nights of the week; one for middle school students and one for high school. Stough envisions a group like Young Life or Youth for Christ.

“It’s a place for kids to come and have fun with other kids,” Stough said.

Axcess Youth Center would be located in the old Western Eagle County Metro District building at 113 East Fourth Street. A lease is already signed, contingent on town approval.

The youth center, serving middle school and high school students is planned as a place to socialize play games, and listen to music. There’s wall space for student art and a small stage is proposed for musical performances.

Beverages, hot dogs, pizza, popcorn and ice cream will be available for affordable prices. The plan is to have a giant PlayStation screen, air-hockey, foosball, ping-pong and billiards. In the basement, the Outreach Center hopes to build an audio and visual recording studio.

“The hope is to do something the kids can use and take some ownership in,” Stough says.

The Outreach Center plans include a computer lab with wireless connectivity for after school studying. Peer mentoring and crisis intervention programs will be developed.

“They get to hang out, experience love for each other, and know other people care about them,” Stough says.

The Outreach Center would also like to make the Axcess Youth Center available to other organizations to use, such as after-school programs with Buddy Mentors or Red Canyon High School.

The Center is an outgrowth of the Eagle Valley Community Church, where Stough serves as pastor. Stough moved here seven years ago to “help bring God’s love to this community,” he says.

But, he found himself touching mainly people who already believed in the Christian message. Stough and church members wanted to reach out to others outside this circle ” hence, the Outreach Center was created.

“It’s the beginning, hopefully, of a real service to our community,” Stough says.

The organization also wants to build a community center with a day-care center, counseling center, food bank and a car ministry that takes car donations for the needy.

“Eventually, we want to build housing, transitional housing, particularly for people in difficult circumstances.”

But this all takes money and land.

“We’ve got a big vision,” Stough says. “We’ve got to find some people who share this vision.”

If the permit is approved, the Axcess Youth Center would open its doors by the end of September. Initially, it will probably be open on Friday and Saturday evenings. When the adult volunteer supervisor ranks grow, the center would be open daily, after school.

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Denver has already pledged $5,000 in start-up funds to renovate the building, and $1,000 a month to help with operating expenses. But that is only a portion of the center’s needs.

“We are hoping to get other people in the community to help,” Stough says.

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